Top Ten Tuesday: “Literary Best Friends”

I have to admit … some of these top ten lists are irresistible.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today’s list is top ten “Fictional BFFs”  I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot, and also as usual this list is slightly biased toward what I have read recently, but here goes…

10. Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) she has to get on the list if for no other reason that she willingly went to visit her friend Charlotte even after the latter had married Mr. Collins. I rest my case.

9. Diggory Venn (Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy) Kind of a minor character, but unwaveringly loyal to his lost love, Thomasin Yeobright, even though he had “lost” her to another.

8. Damon (or Pythias) from Classical Mythology. (you knew I had to get at least one classical reference thrown in here) Kind of an overt Tale of Two Cities theme, where Damon takes the place – as a prisoner – of his condemned friend Pythias so that the latter can make one final visit to his loved ones before being executed by the tyrant Dionysius. In this case friendship was rewarded when Pythias – though delayed – arrives just in time before his friend Damon is executed in his place.  The tyrant is so impressed with his loyalty he lets both go free.

7. Helen Burns (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) She was Jane’s steadfast friend from the dismal Lowood Years.  Who among us was not heartbroken with her passing? Resurgam!

6. Nicholas Nickleby (Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens). Have to get at least one Dickens character in here.  I will stand by any person who demonstrates such loyalty and compassion as he did with the beleaguered Smike…

5. Basil Hallward (The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde) Another rather minor character, but Dorian’s downfall cannot be blamed on his painter friend, who made efforts to stop him and to save his soul.

4. Samwise Gamgee (the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein) He would follow a friend to the end of the earth – or at least to the top of Mount Doom, as he did for Frodo.

3. (any of) Harry-Hermione-Ron (from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling) This triumvirate endures seven volumes and has become synonymous with friendship after being ‘randomly’ thrown together in the first book.

2. George Milton (from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck) A “controversial” pick within my own mind, but how he takes care of Lenny – even to the extremest of measures – earned my respect.

1. “Charley” (from Travels With Charley by Steinbeck). I’d hate to rate one human character as better than the rest, so I’ll stick with man’s best friend. Charley’s constant companionship and work as the author’s ambassador in his travels around the country earn him my top spot. And what about his reaction upon seeing the bears in Yellowstone? Here’s a friend who would fight to the death on your behalf!

Well, that’s my list. What about yours? Did any of mine make your list?


  1. Stacey said,

    November 30, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I am actually reading Travels with Charley right now.
    I’m happy to see that Samwise Gamagee from Lord of the Rings made it to your list, because he was the first one who came to mind when I read the title of your blog.


    • stentorpub said,

      November 30, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks for reading my list Stacey! Let me know how you like Travels with Charley when you’re done. It’s one of my favorites. I think I’ve blogged about it earlier this year.


  2. November 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Great list. I don’t get why anyone would want to spend any time with any of the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but that’s probably because I can’t disassociate my feelings of the book with the characters. I suppose I would choose the father or the well-read sister of Elizabeth who kept to herself. As for Elizabeth, she never liked ‘Mr Collins’ so I don’t think it was much of a sacrifice to see Charlotte.

    I don’t even remember ‘Helen Burns’, which is sad. In addition, it’s been so long since I read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, I would have to re-read it to be able to comment.

    Samwise is a good pick, but it irks me to think of movie portrayal of him. George and Charley are both great picks. I don’t know about poodles, but Steinbecks description of Charley endeared me to him. For adventuring throughout America, you couldn’t find a better companion.


    • stentorpub said,

      November 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      I love the part in Travels with Charley when Steinbeck talks about Charley’s knack for helping him make new friends.

      Helen Burns was not a particularly major character, but I think she resonated with me since poor Jane was exiled to the depressing Lowood school and Helen’s friendship was the one glimmer of hope for her early on.


  3. Dale Barthauer said,

    November 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    These are great! Samwise Gamgee is my definition of ‘best friend’. One character that has always intrigued me is Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. I don’t know if he would qualify as a best friend or not. But he was Jay Gatsby’s sidekick for a brief period of time and the narrator of the story.


    • stentorpub said,

      November 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Dale,
      Yeah, “we” don’t really think too much of Nick C that way, do we? Thinking back, I can’t remember that much about him as an individual rather than just the narrator. I don’t know if that’s because Fitzgerald doesn’t talk about him in that light or if he did and I just don’t remember…
      I really have enjoyed looking at everybody’s lists today.


  4. November 30, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I’ve never thought of anyone in Dorian Gray as friend material, but an epically talented painter friend would be pretty cool…unless they captured my soul :p

    Great list!


  5. stentorpub said,

    November 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Thanks Erica! Lord Henry Wotton from TPODG almost made my “villains” list a couple weeks ago too. He was a bloody cad… 🙂


  6. Bibliophile said,

    December 1, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Great list – quite different from most of the others. Charley is a good choice – I really should re-read “Travels” soon.


    • stentorpub said,

      December 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks, Bibliophile! (you know, some day I’m going to organize a “confederation” of all the book blogs with “bibliophil….” in their name; there are a lot of us out there!)

      Travels with Charley is one of only a handful of books that I’ve read multiple times. I didn’t protest at all when my book club picked it to read earlier this year. 🙂



  7. December 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    haha, I love your reason for including Lizzy Bennet. 😀


  8. Danya said,

    December 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for commenting on my Top Ten! I do see your point about Elizabeth – she must value her friendship with Charlotte quite highly to put up with Mr. Collins for any length of time 😀

    I considered Helen Burns for my list as well – she didn’t end up making it but I definitely think she made a loyal friend, and it’s so sad when she dies 😦


    • stentorpub said,

      December 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      I still can’t believe Charlotte married Mr. Collins. Her reasons that she gave were insufficient IMHO 🙂


  9. Ann Marie said,

    December 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    If we are talking animal best friends, I’m thinking Old Yeller makes my list of Top Ten. I would also add (in no particular order):

    *Bess and George (Nancy Drew’s crime solving buddies)
    *Melanie Wilkes (who else could put up with someone like Scarlett and not care that she chases after her husband because she knows her true heart)


    • stentorpub said,

      December 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm

      I considered Melanie Wilkes but she didn’t make my final cut. I never read the Nancy Drew books (they were for girls, Hardy Boys for boys…) 🙂

      Would you believe I never read Old Yeller? I’m so ashamed…


  10. Jennifer said,

    June 28, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Diana from Anne of Green Gables, although Anne was a better friend to her IMO. Gilbert was probably Anne’s actual bff


  11. Emily said,

    October 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    It made me absurdly happy to read your comment about Elizabeth Bingly. You’re right – it has to count for something that she willingly went to visit Charlotte even though that visit meant staying in the same house as Mr. Collins!

    I agree with nearly everything on this list, though I personally would have put Samwise a wee bit higher. Still – I feel like your explanations were clear and really made sense. This was an enjoyable, informative read. Thank you!


    • Jay said,

      October 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you, Emily, and thanks for the visit and comment. 🙂


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